In time for this year’s Pride Month, Discovery+ is premiering The Book of Queer, a five-episode docuseries that covers some of the gayest moments in history.
“The series will pull back the curtain and take a deep dive telling the LGBTQ+ stories of the past through interviews with revered queer historians and experts who are as colorful as the rainbow flag. Blending comedy with social impact, The Book of Queer features witty recreations and original music videos to bring each of the stories to life with a modern tone,” according to a series description.
The series is based on out 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist Eric Cervini’s Instagram videos. Cervini also executive produced the series.
“I think so often, folks assume that history is, by definition, boring or that queer history is, by definition, depressing and tragic,” Cervini tells The Advocate. “When in reality, there are just infinite stories of joy and love and community. And that's what we're really hoping to capture in The Book of Queer.”
Cervini says that right now queer history can inspire at a time lawmakers across the country draft and pass bills targeting LGBTQ+ lives.
“So much of queer history is about fighting back,” he says.
That goes from the Lavender Scare to the AIDS crisis — when there has been oppression, queer people have organized and fought for their rights.
“It's very scary to be a queer [or] trans person in America right now. Given what the Supreme Court is contemplating doing, what that signals for our community is very dark,” Cervini says. “I think we need laughter because laughter and joy and camp is how we have survived for centuries. And it is that ability to find joy in the darkest of times that brings us together, and it also fuels us in our fights against oppression.”
The Book of Queer, he explains, shows that the people in power making these laws can’t continue to oppress LGBTQ+ people. History shows us that.
“This show proves that no matter what whatever the attempts are, to erase us, to persecute, to persecute us, to extricate us from the historical record, or to prevent teachers from teaching our history … it never works,” he says.
Cervini adds that The Book of Queer is something the LGBTQ+ community deserves.
“The show really gives us time to laugh and also empower ourselves through joy and through having just a really great entertaining experience,” he says.
In addition to the historical knowledge presented in the series, LGBTQ+ icons will be narrating the show. These legends include Margaret Cho (The Flight Attendant, Fire Island), Dominique Jackson (Pose), Leslie Jordan (American Horror Story, Will & Grace), Ross Mathews (The Drew Barrymore Show and RuPaul’s Drag Race), and Alex Newell (Glee).
The series premieres on Discovery+ June 2.
Watch an exclusive clip on the representation behind the series below.